July 20th, 2010
04:26 PM ET
4 years ago

Roskam on liberal agenda: 'Heaven help us'

Republican Reps. Peter Roskam, left, and Kevin McCarthy, right, spoke Tuesday about a GOP initiative that allows the public to weigh in on agenda items.
Republican Reps. Peter Roskam, left, and Kevin McCarthy, right, spoke Tuesday about a GOP initiative that allows the public to weigh in on agenda items.

Washington (CNN) – With less than four months until voters go to the polls in this year's midterm elections, one of two House Republicans charged with developing a positive GOP agenda sounded a warning Tuesday about what he sees as the temptations inherent in the liberal agenda.

Invoking the Old Testament story of Esau and Jacob, Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Illinois, said the American public should not be taken in at a time of need and vulnerability by what "the political left" is offering.

In the Bible tale, Esau, as the older of Isaac's two sons, was in line to receive an inheritance from his father. But, in a moment of hunger after returning home from a trip, Esau gave up that birthright to his younger brother Jacob in exchange for a pot of stew.

"Today the political left is coaxing the American people and the American people are hungry," Roskam said at the Heritage Foundation's weekly gathering of conservative bloggers. "They're uncertain. They're in ground that they have never been on before. They're seeing an economy that is one of the scariest things that they've seen in a long time. They see the United States and our role in the world being challenged here, there, and elsewhere. And they are uncertain."

Roskam likened the public in the current economic and political environment to Esau in the Old Testament.

"And the political left is saying 'Just give us your birthright. Just trade it in and we'll give you stability.' Well, Heaven help us if we make that deal. Heaven help us if we give a birthright of freedom and opportunity and entrepreneurship and national strength and goodness. If we just squander that – for what? For people – entrusting it to people who can't pass a budget. Are you kidding me? That's a raw deal," the Illinois Republican said, making a reference to the fact that Democrats in Congress have missed the traditional deadline for producing the next federal budget.

Roskam, a House Republican deputy whip, was joined at the Heritage Foundation event by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-California, the chief deputy whip of the House Republican Conference.

In the run-up to the midterms, the two men have been charged by House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, with developing the House GOP's positive agenda for governing. The project has been likened to Newt Gingrich's "Contract with America," which House Republicans unveiled prior to the 1994 midterm election where the GOP retook control of the House and the Senate during the last Democratic administration.

McCarthy said Tuesday that the GOP agenda will include legislation and is likely to touch on job creation, federal spending, governmental reform, health care, and national security.

House Republicans recently launched an initiative called "America Speaking Out" that allows the public to log on to a website and submit ideas for the agenda.

Roskam said the "America Speaking Out" initiative fits well with the public's concerns about the policies of national Democrats.

"The public has the sense that the majority has completely squandered the goodwill that was entrusted to them," said Roskam.

He added, "The mask is off of this liberal agenda – no pretense of moderation – and people are just recoiling from it. Saying 'That's not what we signed up for. That's not what we were promised in November of 2008.'"

And Roskam also had a warning for Democrats on Capitol Hill how might try to pass more of their proposals in a lame duck session if they lose control of the House in November's voting.

The Illinois Republican said voters would not soon forget such lame duck legislating.

"The Democratic Party wouldn't live that down for years and year and years," Roskam said. "It would haunt them."


Filed under: 2010 • GOP • Kevin McCarthy • Peter Roskam
soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. Sandra

    and what have these folks done for us recently? NOTHING! Well except total hypocrisy.

    July 20, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Derek from Boston

    'That's not what we signed up for. That's not what we were promised in November of 2008.'

    Yeah, Americans voted for Change in 2008 and they're not gonna enough of that. So, how is your Party, the Party of "Change is Bad", gonna capitalize on that in 2010?

    Geez, is anyone there to question what Politicians say?

    July 20, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. Liz the First

    How funny this republican should say heaven help us if the liberal agenda is adopted. Jesus was a Liberal!!!!! every position conservatives take is directly opposite of what Jesus taught us to do. their hypocrisy never smells worse than when they're using religion to advance their morally bankrupt ideology. if Jesus were to come back today, the rethugs and conservitives would be the ones He'd need to try to save, and they'd crucify him all over again.

    July 20, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    God has already helped us and eliminated the republican strangle hold on American families.

    July 20, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. Matt

    The only thing the American people should be more worried about than the so-called "liberal agenda" is the Republicans gaining power again – we already KNOW what they want to do:

    – More wars, more dead American soldiers, more tax cuts for the rich, more jobs lost to overseas slave labor, more wealth concentrated in the hands of the top 1%.

    – Less regulation, less consumer protection, less environmental oversight, less job creation, less religious tolerance, less freedom for anybody who isn't a white Christian man.

    July 20, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. Liz the First

    And forgive one more post. someone posted on another item that the only good liberal is a dead one. i think that demonstrates perfectly how evil and warped the cons are. he'd be doing the nailing at the next crucifixion if Jesus came back today because He'd be a radical Leftist again just like He was the first time.

    July 20, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  7. Marcus

    Quoting the Bible to incite fear and loathe against his political enemies...
    Is this news?
    He could have said something more substantiated about what he and his buddy on the picture are trying to develop as the newest 'Contract' that the GOP will try to sell to its base.
    Last time (last year in the case there's some dude with short term memory problem out there) that they 'proposed' a legislation they forgot something called 'numbers' in it...
    All 'we will do this' and 'we will do that'... without no numbers to explain HOW they would do 'this' or 'that'...
    Let's see if they learned their lesson.

    July 20, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. American Patriot - a "real" tea partier

    Me on the neo-con agenda: "Heaven help us."

    America has spoken out. They want the GOP gone. Take the Teabaggers with you.

    July 20, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. Emerson

    These two idiots ought to be ashamed of themselves. Maybe this type of dumbdown talk flys at conservative think tanks that are on the payroll of big business or with the lemmings at book signings, but don't insult the Bible by trying it to use it to bolster your own lack of direction.

    By the way, what is your party's agenda? Don't have one and your jogb is to" develop a positive GOP agenda". Good luck with that, maybe use the story of the loaves and the fishes and see if that flies with the religious patriots.

    July 20, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  10. tess

    compare these two decent and very thoughtful men (who are not afraid to speak about religion) with the nasty, mean and down-right vile utterings coming from the dems. even the president (who the last time i checked was suppose to represent all of america) rails against anybody who disagrees with him and it always seems to be republicans. what a role model he has turned out to be!?! 2010 can't come soon enough to clean a very dirty house!!!!

    July 20, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  11. john316

    Do people really have such short memories that they listen to this nonsense....I'm sure these are the same tactics they used on the Indians with beads and trinkets....and which one is Esau and which one is Jacob....it's hard to tell from the photo......

    July 20, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  12. nicnic

    this man is scary.

    July 20, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. vwrtb

    Heaven help us overcome republican obstructionist that are extending the recession and trying to water down ever bill to help their corporate elitist! Corporations are raping America and you expect my to sympathize with them? Fat chance fat cats! Vote no to the party of no in November! Love thy fellow dem! Let republicans fend for themselves like they want! Dems unite and help make this union strong again with good paying safe jobs! If any republicans harass you just say union and they Will go running and screaming into there airport bathroom stalls!

    July 20, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  14. Shucks

    Leave your bible quoting to somewhere else like in your church and your home. It does not belong in American politics or laws that govern those who do not believe the same as you or who don't believe at all. Religion will continue to be the downfall of the Republican party. You cannot take religious rituals, teachings, and perceptions and dictate law to fit those beliefs without limiting, or denying every US citizen their individual rights and freedom.

    July 20, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. Why do politicians suck?

    I was going to vote republican in November, but with members and die hard supports continually saying or doing stupid, inflammatory, untruthful things when just telling the truth and actually doing their jobs would be enough to gain control of congress I don't know. I'm probably going third party or dumdum dems.

    July 20, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. GI Joe

    The republicans DO have a plan - cut taxes for the wealthy again.

    Can't you see how many jobs were created by the two unfunded tax cuts Shrub gave his buddies?

    July 20, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. Angie

    Wait. Esau selling his birthright was part of God's plan and Jacob ended up being a father of Israel. I don't get the metaphor.

    July 20, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. Willy Brown

    We have evil in control till Nov 2nd.

    July 20, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  19. GAK

    When it was the GOP feeding us a line it was OKAY. Now when they are non issue,its the big bad liberal agenda that will DOOOOm us all. If I remember right it was the GOP that proposed and took away freedoms under the "Patriat Act". allows the government to read our mail,look at our e-mail,listen in on our phone conversations. But that's okay because a conservative got it passed. No matter how good an idea is from a Democrat,its BAD for the economy(like they did anything good for it),its BAD for security,its BAD for business. Like Wall Street is having any problem taking our money or making money now....It was the GOP that took a surplus and made a huge deficit out of it.. not the other way around as they would have us all believe.. If we could harness all the metane coming out of the GOP we wouldn't have an energy shortage right now!!

    July 20, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  20. Marcus

    tess – Speak about religion has NOTHING to do with what they did. What they did was using a passage from the Bible (Esau and Jacob, the favorite of those who are against any type of progress since it teaches that those who dare to give a try to something new, even knowing full well the price to pay for it and the price of failure, should have thought about it better and stayed as they were) to explain how America (in their eyes of course) is faring today, as if there's about one hundred and so millions of 'Esaus' and another one hundre and so millions of 'Jacobs', and the 'Esaus' are treatening the 'Jacobs' lives and futures...
    Numbers to back that claim? Facts to do the same? Why? They used the Bible, they don't need numbers and facts...

    July 20, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. norma

    The American people are hungry because the previous administration created a HUGE recession AND the current Republicans in the Senate were blocking unemployment benefits. People are going hungry, and you take political cheep shots.

    This Christian is NOT amused by your abuse of God's word!

    July 20, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  22. Sharron

    using the Bible to insight fear in people is all the conservative right christrians know how to do.....May God CURSE everyone one of you that use these tactics.......God said in the Bible that we were never to use his words and twist them around that may cause others to lose their faith ......and that is exactly what these HPYOCRITS are doing.....God also said what we REAP WE WILL SOW and I hope each one of you get what you are SOWING.......lies lies and more lies

    July 20, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  23. Scott

    It's important for your political party to make its policy decisions based on the contents of a bronze-age text.

    July 20, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. Ndubueze Chuku

    The Democrats offer us a chance to live but the Republicans offered us a life of pain and anguish. Do not come to quote the bible to us as if you practise what you preach. Which Party did their member go to the Whore houses, or was caught in an airport restroom soliciting male prostitute, or hike the "Appalachian trail" or was it Argentina, or molest congress page boys? So Mr. Roskam just shut up.

    July 20, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  25. ocRick

    Jesus was Not a Conservative. Their answer is the go back to the Bush policies. We know how that ended. Fake Christians suck.

    July 20, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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